Tree Peony Pruning and Care Tips

Pruning tree peonies can be a little tricky. Here, in this video, our gardening expert shows you how to go about pruning a tree peony and offers tips on improving your tree peony's look and performance in just a few easy steps.


Hi everyone, Felix here with Gurney's. Today, we're looking at some tree peonies and what you can run into with tree peonies, with their growth habit. Most tree peonies are propagated by grafting or budding onto some kind of under stock or, you know, seed grown tree peony variety is typically what's used. Occasionally, you'll see a herbaceous variety used as the root stock for tree peony. What will happen sometimes is that you get these growth initiations from the under stock and you can very clearly tell that they are different. This is still a tree peony in this case but the wood is very different and most of the time, you're just going to get a white simple flower and then the variety that was grafted is probably going to be more ornate, but it's certainly going to be the variety that you want to grow. Unless you enjoy having two different tree peony varieties to grow, generally the practice is to trim these off and late winter is a good time to do that. We're just going to trim off these root stock shoots. And if you can get it a little bit below the ground, that's better. It just so happens that this stuff here is winterkill and we have, right here, what are most likely the shoots from this variety, our grafted variety. This one here, again is a shoot that's coming again from the root stock so we can trim that off. The way to really know that is look at the callus formation here, and that's when you have that root stock varietal, interchange the separation area. You'll sometimes get a little tissue buildup depending on the varieties, so you can generally use that as a guide. Whenever you have this buildup of calcium deposits or mineral deposits or whatever is happening here, is just callus buildup. That's how you can tell the shoot is coming off of that variety. The other thing you want to do here is just trim off the little bit of tissue that's obviously winter killed. Make some nice flush cuts there so disease can't infiltrate. And then, you know, if this had a lot of density to it, we might want to open it up a little bit, but I really don't have any complaints with this, the density of this particular tree peony plant. Just some quick points there about what you might see coming out of the ground.